THE knockout Division semifinals of the Metro Basketball Tournament seniors competition kicks off Thursday at the San Andres Sports Complex
Mandaluyong, the South Division top seed and only remaining unbeaten team in the tourney, takes on No. 5-ranked Isang Pateros and North contenders Manila and San Juan figuring in the other game at the resumption of the playoffs of the tourney organized by the MBT under the Metro Manila Sports Fest of the Metro Manila Development Authority and with backing from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Reeling from the loss of top player Joseph Gabayni to the PBA ranks, the Tigers of head coach Johnedel Cardel will now be led by MBT All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Sandy Ceñal in the 6:00 p.m. game against Isang Pateros, which advanced to the South Final 4 with a 90-86 upset of No. 4 seed Parañaque in the quarterfinals last Oct 24.
The No. 2 ranked Whatta Whatta take on the host and No. 3-seeded All-Stars in the 7:30 p.m. second game in the latter’s homecourt in the event which has Mobile App ng Bayan Barangay 143 as presentor, my|phone “Bida ang Pinoy” as official mobile phone, Spalding as official ball, and Synergy 88, San Miguel Corp., World Balance and Higer Bus as major sponsors.
Mandaluyong, which advanced to the division semis outright after topping the South classification games, and San Juan, winner over Valenzuela in the quarterfinals, will be aiming to repeat against their respective opponents to advance to their respective Division Finals on Nov. 17.
The Tigers handily defeated Isang Pateros 99-90 in their classification round meeting last Oct. 19 at the Parañaque Sports & Social Hall even without Gabayni and Ceñal, banking instead on the efforts of Jomil Reyes and Cyrus Tabi.
The Whatta Whatta on the other hand, beat the All-Stars, 102-93, at the San Andres homecourt in their classification round clash last Sept. 28 behind a sizzling 12-of-27 shooting from three-point range led by Joshua Emmanuel Montero and Kenneth John Zamora.
The other two knockout Division Final 4 matches of this tourney also supported by Excellent Noodles, Nature’s Spring Water, 1-Pacman Partylist, Hopewell Sales Corp., Star Bread, Frabelle Foods, Regan Industrial Sales, Inc., Glitter.ph, Alcoplus and Archie’s Bespoke Bar + Grill, is slated Friday at the Navotas Sports Complex.
It will be North top seed Quezon City battling No. 5 Navotas, and South No. 2 Las Piñas against No. 3 MMDA.